A/N: Another one-shot for my collection! An extra-long one! Requested by saving me, who asked for Rebecca taking care of a sick Doc. I hope you like it! And the rest of you, keep the suggestions coming… I've decided to expand the "Doc in Shining Armor" theme to include any of the main characters saving/helping each other in some way. I have a couple more in mind… including a post-finale thing (and requested by Casie01). I also think Ray and Hauser are very interesting characters, so some of my ideas involve them. Anyway, please review and let me know what you'd like to see next.
3. Guardian Angel
Diego Soto groaned pitifully. He felt beyond awful. His sinuses were stuffed and his head was throbbing and he couldn't stop shivering. He didn't understand it; he'd felt fine the night before. His throat had been a little sore, but not much. And then he'd woken up like this.
He'd made several abortive attempts to get out of bed and go to the kitchen for a drink of water or something, but whenever he managed to get himself vertical the resulting wave of dizziness forced him back to bed. He wondered where his phone was. He thought he'd heard it ringing earlier, maybe somewhere in the living room. He should probably find it and call Rebecca or Hauser so they knew he wasn't coming in today. Or was it the weekend? Was he expected? He couldn't remember.
Time passed. Doc faded in and out of sleep. He wondered what time it was, but shifting around so he could see his alarm clock was too hard. Even coughing was too hard, although he tried anyway.
The room was bright; he'd forgotten to shut the blinds last night. He didn't used to have blinds, but his mother had been visiting one day and noticed his uncovered windows. She'd taken him shopping the next day, saying his apartment looked like no one lived there. Which was kind of accurate; he didn't spend much time at home. Just to sleep, really.
Doc slept some more.
When he woke next he felt hot, and thirsty. His throat was so dry he couldn't swallow. With an effort, he rolled himself onto his side. After the dizziness subsided, he slowly swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up.
It seemed to take forever, but Doc eventually made it out of his bedroom. He stumbled slowly down the hallway, one hand moving along the wall because it was kind of hard to tell which direction was up. It was the corner that did him in; he came around it a little too fast and suddenly the dizziness was overwhelming and the world twisted crazily. Somehow he ended up on the floor, and there he stayed, watching the world swirl lazily overhead.
"Great," Doc muttered. He really wanted a drink of water. And what about his phone? He'd wanted it earlier for… something. Where was it?
He laid there for awhile, mulling this over, and eventually fell asleep. He dreamed that someone was knocking on the door. He awoke to an odd sound; metal scraping on metal. Coming from the direction of the front door. Or maybe that was the bathroom; he was all turned around.
He heard a door open and a familiar voice call, "Doc? You in here?"
He tried to clear his throat to answer but his throat was too dry.
"Oh, Doc!" the voice exclaimed, much closer now. "What's the matter? Are you alright?"
He managed to shake his head slightly and then an angel came into view above him. Large blue eyes gazed down at him out of a smooth pale face framed in a halo of blond hair. The face was pretty, but pinched in concern. The young woman's name was on the tip of Doc's tongue, but he couldn't quite bring it out.
A small, cool hand suddenly came to rest on his forehead. "Geez, Doc, you're burning up! What are you doing out here? You should be in bed!"
He tried to clear his throat again, and his savior seemed to understand. "Hang on, let me get you something to drink."
He drifted until suddenly she was back, pulling him up to lean against the wall. She put an arm around his shoulders and held a glass to his lips, and he drank eagerly. Some of it dribbled down his chin but he didn't care; water had never tasted so good.
"Thanks," he managed to say when he'd had enough.
"You sound terrible. Come on, let's get you back to bed." She pulled him to his feet—she was stronger than she looked—and hooked his arm over her shoulders, supporting him and leading him in what he assumed was the right direction.
Once he was settled in bed, it suddenly came to him.
"Rebecca!" he croaked.
"Yeah, Doc?" she said quizzically.
"Just reminding myself," Doc mumbled. He felt like there was more he ought to say, or something he should ask, but he gave up trying to figure it out and went back to sleep.
When he woke up Rebecca was nowhere in sight, but a cool, damp rag was spread over his forehead, and it felt amazing. He was thirsty again, and he shifted up on an elbow to peer around his room, hoping his guardian angel was still around somewhere. He listened, but the apartment was quiet. He was about to lay down again when he noticed a bottle of water sitting on his bedside table. He sighed in relief and reached for it. He had some water and went back to sleep.
He heard the door opening again.
"Hello?" he tried cautiously.
"Just me," Rebecca said, coming into his room with a large paper bag in her arms. "I went out to get a few things. I looked in your kitchen but you didn't seem to have much. How are you feeling?"
"Um… better, I guess. Maybe." He wasn't sure.
Rebecca sighed. "We should take your temperature. I couldn't find a thermometer so I bought one."
She dug around in the bag for a moment and pulled something out. She tore off the packaging and held out a digital thermometer.
"Open up," she said with a smile, although her eyes were concerned.
Doc opened his mouth for the thermometer and they waited till it beeped. Rebecca took it and frowned at it. "102.3. Geez, Doc."
"That sounds high," he murmured slowly.
"You sound high," Rebecca said, rolling her eyes. She dug around in her magic bag some more and pulled out a bottle of Gatorade. She opened it and handed it to him. "Here. You'll feel better when you're hydrated."
She disappeared again while he sipped the Gatorade. Grape-flavored. Not bad. He was still thinking about the grapey-ness of it when she came back and gave him two pills. He accepted them unthinkingly before his brain caught up with events.
"Whoa, um. I can't take these."
"It's just ibuprofen, Doc," Rebecca assured him. "It'll help reduce your fever."
"No, I mean uh… I can't swallow them. Never learned." He wasn't out of it enough not to feel a twinge of embarrassment as Rebecca's brow furrowed.
"Oh. Um, okay, hang on." She took the pills back and disappeared again.
He heard her rummaging in the bathroom for awhile.
"Don't you have any liquid stuff around?" she stuck her head in to say. "Like children's Tylenol or something?"
It took him a moment catch on. "No, guess not." He shrugged. "I never get sick."
Rebecca smiled at him. "Doc, I hate to break it to you, but you got sick."
He leaned his head back against the wall. "Ugh, yeah. I noticed."
Rebecca thought for a minute, shaking the pills in her hand absently. "Okay, I have an idea." She disappeared again.
"Great," Doc said to thin air. He sighed and had more of the Gatorade.
She was gone longer this time, and he heard a loud banging noise coming from the kitchen. He waited, wondering what she could possibly be doing.
"Here you go!" she said proudly, returning at last with a dish of what turned out on closer inspection to be applesauce.
Doc accepted the spoon she handed over and scooped some up.
"You'll probably want to eat it pretty fast," Rebecca said helpfully. "It's not going to taste too good."
"Urgh!" Doc couldn't help a grimace at the bitter taste.
"Eat it all," she ordered cheerfully. "I had a friend growing up who gave medicine to her cat like this. Ground up in a can of cat food."
Doc screwed up his courage and downed the last of the applesauce, washing it down with a swig of Gatorade. "Me-ow," he said when he could speak again. "Is that what that sound was? You were grinding up the pills?"
"Yeah. I put them in a plastic bag and hit them with a hammer."
He started to laugh and sputtered up some of the Gatorade.
Rebecca grinned. "Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say."
A thought occurred to him suddenly. "Hey, not that I'm complaining, but how did you get in here, anyway?"
Rebecca blushed slightly. "Well, you weren't answering your phone, and I got worried… so I broke in."
"You broke in?"
She shrugged. "I pick locks, remember?"
"Oh yeah," Doc mused. "That's what that weird metal-scraping noise must have been."
"Must have been," Rebecca agreed. "I should let you get some rest. Do you need anything else?"
Doc put the disgusting applesauce dish on his nightstand. "Um, no, I'm good. I think I'll just go back to sleep. Thanks a lot, Rebecca, seriously."
"Hey, what are partners for?"
When she left the room Doc laid back down with a sigh, trying not to regret Rebecca's departure. Her presence had taken his mind off the feeling of general crappiness, and he missed her already. He hoped he felt better soon; this being sick business was really miserable.
The next time he woke up it was dark out. He turned over to look at the clock. 11:23pm; he'd slept a long time. He could tell Rebecca's medicine must have helped; he still felt feverish, but his head was much clearer. He sat up slowly, pleased at the lack of dizziness. He drank the rest of the Gatorade, then went to the bathroom. He flicked on the light and paused, startled. There on the counter was the thermometer; next to it was a box of tissues, a bottle of liquid cough syrup with ibuprofen, and a spoon. Rebecca must have gone out again. Doc read the directions on the cough syrup carefully and had a few spoonfuls. He blew his nose and put some extra tissues in the pocket of his pajama pants.
Doc still felt kind of thirsty, and wondered if Rebecca had brought any more Gatorade. He wandered out to the kitchen to check. He opened the fridge and immediately noticed quite a few things that hadn't been there before. There was a six-pack of Gatorade, with one bottle missing, a jar of applesauce, some juice, a half-dozen eggs, and a new tub of margarine. On the counter were a loaf of bread and three cans of soup. Doc stared at them for a moment, touched. She'd done all this for him. Rebecca had to be the sweetest friend he'd ever had.
He grabbed another Gatorade and turned to go back to his bedroom when he heard a soft sigh. Doc peered into the living room and realized there was someone on his couch. He knew who he would find before he got there, and sure enough, Rebecca was curled up sound asleep.
She clearly hadn't wanted to leave him alone. Doc smiled down at her, moved by her concern. The gentleman in him felt a little bad that she was sleeping on his couch while he had the bed. He had never considered sleeping on the couch, as it couldn't accommodate his large frame, but his guardian angel looked comfortable enough. He thought she might be cold, though; she had her arms tucked tightly around her. He went to the closet and shook out a spare blanket, draping it carefully over her small form. He tucked it gently under her feet and nodded, satisfied. Gatorade in hand, Doc went back to bed.
Rebecca woke up to sunlight on her face and opened her eyes slowly. She laid there groggily for awhile, staring at the ceiling, before she realized she didn't have any ceiling fixtures shaped like Spiderman's masked face. She sat up abruptly and looked around. Yup, she was in Doc's apartment. But all was quiet and her partner was nowhere to be seen, so she concluded he was still in bed.
She started to get up and then realized she was covered with a blanket, which didn't ring a bell. "Thanks, Doc," she murmured, smiling, as she folded it and set it aside. She drank some of the juice in the kitchen and washed her face in the bathroom. Then she grabbed the thermometer and the medicine and went to check on her wayward partner.
She found him fast asleep, snoring softly in his bed. Not wanting to wake him, she moved silently to his bedside and laid her hand carefully on his forehead.
Rebecca was not expecting the reaction she got. Doc's eyes flew open and he grabbed her wrist before she could react.
"Whoa, Doc!" she exclaimed. "Relax, it's just me! Relax."
Doc blinked at her for several seconds before his mind caught up. His eyes widened and he released her wrist abruptly.
"Oh my god, I am so sorry," he said, appalled.
"It's okay," Rebecca said cautiously. "What happened? Were you dreaming?"
"Yeah…" Doc shifted himself up to a sitting position.
Rebecca waited to see if he would tell her more, but he remained silent. She knew there was trauma in his past; she wondered if it still affected his sleep. Not wanting to make him uncomfortable, she finally changed the subject and held up the thermometer.
"Here. I wanted to see if your temp's come down. You feel cooler, anyway."
Doc accepted the thermometer but held onto her hand. He pulled her closer and examined the red marks on her wrist, his mouth turning down into a frown.
"I'm so sorry, Rebecca," he said again.
"Doc, it's okay, really," she said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "You didn't hurt me, I just have really fair skin. It turns red at the drop of a hat. Now come on, let's see your temperature."
He obediently stuck the thermometer under his tongue and they waited.
"100.2," Doc read out when it beeped.
Rebecca released a sigh. "Well, no work for you today. It's better than last night at least."
"I could probably do some research from here… I have my computer," Doc said.
"Maybe later, if you feel up to it, but don't push yourself, Doc," Rebecca replied. "You should be resting. Research some nice boring daytime TV," she added with a grin.
He sniffed. "Time-traveling murderers are more interesting," he pointed out.
"See how you feel," Rebecca said again. "Now, are you hungry?"
Doc thought about it. "Actually, yeah. A bit."
"That's a good sign. I kind of feel like a scrambled egg. You want?"
"Rebecca, you don't have to make breakfast for me."
She smiled. "True. But I have 45 minutes till I need to go home and get ready for work, and I'm not leaving till you have something to eat. So, do you want a scrambled egg? Or toast? I got some bread, too. Your cupboards have like nothing in them."
Doc sighed and surrendered to the inevitable. "Breakfast sounds great," he said with a smile. "You're a good friend, Rebecca. I'd hug you but I don't want to give you my germs."
Rebecca laughed. "I'll take a rain check. Back in a few…"
Doc watched her leave his room and then laid back down. Having a guardian angel was pretty awesome.
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